Choosing An SEO Expert The IR Litmus Test Part I

Choosing An SEO Expert The IR Litmus Test Part I

The online marketing industry is​ full of​ purported SEO experts that know very little about how search engines work or​ the​ document indexing process. What I have come to​ find is​ that these 'experts' are always just regurgitating catch phrases and tactics that they have overheard in​ blogs and forums.

This class of​ search engine optimizers developed their tactics and portfolios during SEO's infancy. Low competition,​ low saturation,​ and with relatively under-developed search engines. Remember when all it​ took to​ get a​ client to​ the​ top of​ the​ search engines was to​ edit the​ Meta tags?

Not that current tactics are all that more complex. Title tags,​ focused content,​ keyword placement,​ RSS feeds,​ link exchanges,​ and blogs are all in​ the​ current expert's repertoire. Not exactly brain surgery.

This haphazard success is​ soon going to​ evaporate though,​ as​ competition increases,​ more companies continue to​ migrate online,​ and the​ search engines refine their indexing and relevancy algorithms.

So,​ why are many SEO experts not as​ qualified as​ they purport to​ be?

The answer lies in​ the​ skill sets of​ the​ individuals who are becoming search engine optimizers. Up until now,​ the​ bulk of​ the​ search engine optimization profession recruited from the​ ranks of​ HTML developers. it​ actually makes complete sense if​ we look at​ the​ minimum skills necessary to​ optimize a​ website,​ and the​ state of​ the​ HTML development industry during the​ rise of​ the​ SEO industry.

HTML developers were the​ ideal candidates to​ quickly move into the​ profession because they already possessed the​ minimal skills necessary to​ go behind the​ website and edit the​ HTML. I think we can safely assume that to​ perform the​ current SEO,​ the​ expert needs to​ have a​ decent knowledge of​ web development. Although learning a​ markup language such as​ HTML is​ not that difficult,​ it​ would be a​ significant roadblock to​ any newcomer who wanted to​ enter the​ field. the​ common lay person,​ or​ nuclear physicist for that matter,​ would be forced to​ first learn remedial coding skills.

Additionally,​ when the​ internet bubble burst (along with the​ web developers high paying salaries) no other group was better positioned to​ identify the​ new lucrative opportunities that SEO offered. a​ huge population of​ domestic developers found themselves out of​ work and being undercut by cheap overseas labor. Its not surprising that they were able to​ segue their current knowledge into offering higher-value services that would position clients more effectively to​ their consumers.

The problem is​ that 95% of​ these experts have no real idea how the​ search engines index web pages,​ or​ determine relevancy. They are simply recycling the​ formulas of​ previous SEO success,​ and following the​ latest trial and error trends that someone in​ the​ chatroom 'swears by'. Continually implementing and testing,​ without any underlying comprehension of​ the​ science they are up against. Its like someone without a​ bio-related degree trying to​ recreate evolutionary studies after reading a​ paper on​ Darwinism. Its absurd. They are completely flying blind.

A true SEO expert understands the​ fundamentals of​ information retrieval.

This includes document indexing,​ linguistics,​ and a​ strong knowledge of​ linear algebra,​ including stochastic matrices,​ vector space theory,​ latent semantic analysis,​ and singular value decomposition. This is​ the​ key knowledge that is​ necessary to​ understand how the​ search engines view your client's website,​ how that information will be received,​ and what needs to​ be done to​ increase their ranking.

Unfortunately,​ this knowledge,​ which does take a​ considerable amount of​ mathematical expertise,​ is​ well beyond the​ scope of​ your average HTML web developer. it​ has become difficult to​ not only find enterprise-level experts,​ but differentiate them from the​ rest of​ the​ masses.

So how are professional service firms expected to​ identify which SEO experts they hire are truly professionals?

In my next segment,​ I will continue my discussion on​ the​ survival of​ the​ SEO expert,​ in​ correlation to​ information retrieval. I will also introduce you​ to​ the​ IR Litmus Test,​ which are techniques that a​ firm can utilize to​ accurately qualify SEO experts,​ and differentiate amateurs from enterprise-level professionals.

If you​ would like to​ join the​ discussion for this topic,​ please post a​ comment at​


Choosing An SEO Expert The IR Litmus Test Part I

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